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      10-12-2009, 01:28 AM   #1
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Quaife diff installed!--First Impressions!

The Quaife Diff Install

Well, I finally pulled the trigger on my Quaife differential installation. Back in November 2008, I researched diffs enough to purchase the Quaife w/3.08 gearing for my 6MT 2007 SG e90 335i sedan from Harold at HPAutowerks for an unbelievably good price at the time, but couldn't get around to having it installed until now, due to the uncertainty of the quality of installers in the area and mixed reviews of install costs from some of the forum members.

After much hand wringing and good advice about local DC metro installers from some of the e90post Mid-Atlantic chapter forum guys, I took my ride to Ivan at IMA Motorsport in Chantilly, VA, a service and tuner shop for Porsches, BMWs, Mercedes, and Corvettes. Gearhead in Chief Ivan knows BMWCCA member, golf pro, and fellow gearhead Willie Lutz at South Riding Golf Course, and he was at our BMWCCA DC Chapter Spring Golf Outing, but it didn't occur to me to take the diff installation to him until I saw his ad in the South Riding Golf Course web site.

Check out IMA's web site: http://www.imamotorsport.net/index.html

IMA recently moved into its new digs in Chantilly (located equidistant from Pleasant Valley and South Riding Golf Courses) and was offering performance auto services while you played a round of golf. They have been custom-tuning vehicles, especially Porsches, for the track and the street, which is the main reason I brought my business to IMA.

New Chantilly location off of the Pleasant Valley Road intersection:




A view of the waiting room:




What first impressed me was the cleanliness of the spaces. Here is a shop that takes pride in its work by the orderliness and professionalism displayed in the work area. I was especially taken by the six lifts IMA sports:




Not to mention the race car projects underway:




Jimmy and Aaron put my ride on the lift and commenced to rip out the open diff casing (YES!!):




Closeup of Jimmy rummaging under the diff case (nice Hankooks):




View of the open diff case EMPTY!!! (Note the exhaust system still attached):




Open diff (left) next to Quaife diff (right) ready for swap out:




Quaife diff ready for install:




Quaife diff inside the diff case awaiting case cover and gear oil:




Done!

So, after all is said and done....is there a diff with the diff?

U BETCHA!!!

Why would anyone want to install an automatic torque biasing differential like a Quaife, Torsen, Wavetrac, or clutch type limited slip differential? There are a few other threads that thoroughly explain the advantages of an LSD over an open differential, so I won't regurgitate what has already been covered, but I will refer you to all of those links, if they're still available:

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=100072

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=292510

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=289996


First Impressions:

WOW!!! Wotta Difference!

I know, I know...everyone who has ever had a diff replacement has probably said the same thing.....so, I echo their sentiments!

My wife drives a Mercedes E350 4Matic Sport Sedan, which is the AWD equivalent of the BMW XiDrive and Audi, etc., etc., so I have had the pleasure of flailing my wife's E350 up and down the eastern seaboard with complete confidence in rain or shine....or snow.

After "gently" breaking in the e90 with the Quaife installed, I noticed that the car felt more "planted," more purposeful, and tighter in overall handling and performance. There seemed to be more get up and go, more (this is scientific seat-of-the-pants analysis, mind you) OOOMPH!! and tighter lines in the sweepers around RTE 28, the Dulles corridor, and all of those new ramps being built between RTE 66 and RTE 7 in Northern VA.

For the unaccustomed, be prepared to change your driving habits with a diff installation....and increase your tire pressure, baby, because you will have nothing but fun! Take it to an empty parking lot and feel the new dynamics of the BMW's enhanced handling and performance characteristics.

I do feel the difference in the rain at the toll booths heading onto the Greenway towards Leesburg, especially as I slow to a crawl through the gate in second gear and then PUNCH IT in the merge area, careful to avoid all of the ... ummmm ... "drivers" ... in the far left lane, as I wind it out to the "speed" limit cruising speed.....

I recently switched to Hankook Ventus V12 Evo non-runflats, which has also enhanced my driving experience because they are quieter, excellent in the rain, and very reasonably priced....so it is like night and day compared to the RFTs...

Why Quaife? Why Not?

I have been reading about the Quaife diff, its lifetime warranty, and the overall advantages of Old School "positraction" inherent with any limited slip differential.

First and foremost, there is the safety factor. I now have the ability to control my destiny (and my car) under nearly any road condition. I have enhanced my ability to negotiate wet traction issues by combining my Hankook non-RFTs with the Quaife diff. I now have the low-end torque transfer, thanks to the Quaife, to handle any emerging driving situation. I am now better equipped to handle most of the day-to-day driving that occurs in the lower end of the speed and RPM spectrum, handling daily commuting with aplomb....and yes, a little rancor...at some of the atrocious driving habits of some in the DC metro commuter community.

Yes, the Wavetrac has added features, but with either one (Quaife or Wavetrac), you can't go wrong. I don't plan to track my car in the near future, but I do want to maximize the power and strength that BMW has built into the TT6 with the minor addition of a much-needed mechanical limited slip differential. Yes, Wavetrac is initially less expensive, but the Quaife ATB differential has been around a long time and has a proven "track record" with a lifetime warranty against mechanical failures.

What about that Thump?

Oh, and that thump that everyone keeps talking about .... nada .... nichts .... zilch .... it is not inherent in the Quaife, Wavetrac, or any other brand diffs.... proof is in the pudding... a professional installation from knowledgeable gearheads is all the difference in whether or not you experience a thump, thunk, or bump....Thanks to Jimmy and Aaron at IMA....don't expect any backlash from them...hehe

Setup:

2007 Sparkling Graphite e90 335i sedan, 6MT/Sport/Cold Weather/Premium

Drivetrain: Quaife ATB Differential, courtesy of Harold at HPAutowerks

Diff install: 5 hours, courtesy of Ivan at IMA Motorsports.
(Note: IMA has a $50 off Refer a Friend promo.) Tell them Jose sent you (LOL)... Check Ivan out on what they could do on welded diffs and pumpkin swaps (getting close to Halloween, I reckon) at 703-327-9858.

Tires: Hankook Ventus v12, courtesy of Tire Rack
http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/...12_evo_page_10

Future:

I want to add a BMW aluminum rear guide rod kit to strengthen my ride for better traction and handling. See the following:

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=195441

http://www.n54tech.com/forums/showpo...31&postcount=1

HKS exhaust system (no burnt tips) to lighten the load and let it breathe easier

For more info on Wavetrac:

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=305069

Last edited by flip4335; 11-15-2009 at 11:30 PM.
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      10-12-2009, 02:44 AM   #2
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hmm i can say from first hand experience that Hankook V12s are awful particularly in the wet. I have them on my M5, in the dry they aren't that bad, but if it's even damp outside forget it, they have no grip at all.

Otherwise, congrats
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      10-12-2009, 08:16 AM   #3
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Great recommendation. You have a bolted ring gear. Did you know that going in? I have a 2008 and don't know if mine is welded or bolted - suspect welded. Do you know of Ny way to tell short of removing the diff cover?
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      10-12-2009, 08:49 AM   #4
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Nice writeup!
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      10-12-2009, 08:54 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boom View Post
Great recommendation. You have a bolted ring gear. Did you know that going in? I have a 2008 and don't know if mine is welded or bolted - suspect welded. Do you know of Ny way to tell short of removing the diff cover?
I coordinated with Harold at HPAutowerks on my VIN. He looked up the VIN and determined that my e90 had a bolted diff. He could do the same for you.
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      10-12-2009, 09:06 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KL2DC View Post
Nice writeup!
Thanks for the kind words.

My review is merely a compilation of many of the threads that have been posted over the years.

I am just echoing the satisfaction of having a remarkable handling machine that is truly enhanced with what I believe should be the first mod to any e9x RWD 335i laying 300HP/300TORQUE on the pavement, short of buying a thirsty, yet exhilirating M3.

The UK threads have a goldmine of information on Quaife, especially the issues and the delight of drifting in those roundabouts. I spent a year in the Midlands driving a Volvo S4, and believe me, those roundabouts could be quite daunting...the e90 Forum Brits really love their Quaife diffs...they need 'em.
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      10-12-2009, 01:15 PM   #7
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flip, do you mind telling me how much the install (labor) was? You got me thinking about planning for a Quaife for my ol'E55 This car definitely could benefit from it...
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      10-12-2009, 03:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KL2DC View Post
flip, do you mind telling me how much the install (labor) was? You got me thinking about planning for a Quaife for my ol'E55 This car definitely could benefit from it...
Please give Ivan a call at 703-327-9858. There are many variables involved.

I provided the diff, so labor and material cost came out to around $600.

If it were a straight pumpkin swap out, then it would take less time, thus cost less, maybe three hours instead of five hours.

Ivan will definitely give you a competitive price for your performance requirements...and don't forget to mention my name for a $50 discount!

GL on your decision...I thought the E55's already had LSDs installed...oh yeah, clutch-type...I think the Quaife would be awesome for that platform.
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      10-15-2009, 08:39 PM   #9
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Update: First chance I had today to drive around in the rain. I turned off the DTC/DSC and tooled around in the drizzle....WOWWWEEEE!!! Like a kid in the first snowfall.

First, I had to pump up the tires because the temps dropped dramatically here in the DC area. From 70 degrees to 45 degrees and drizzly the last two days...

Pumped the fronts to 39psi and the rears to 45psi, because of the tire's higher load rating and the label on the driver door said so....for speeds up to and above 100mph....hehehe

It was tough trying to get any action with the Hankooks, but I finally did it in front of traffic turning right at a stop sign... Damn Hankooks....adhesion was too good...but when they let loose, I started drifting as I was accelerating....yikes!.....it was AWESOME!!

Love those Hankooks! Love that Quaife!!!
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      10-16-2009, 08:22 AM   #10
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Be careful out there it is damn slick, I was spinning in 2nd gear start.
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      10-16-2009, 11:25 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iatacs19 View Post


Be careful out there it is damn slick, I was spinning in 2nd gear start.
Thanks, bro...

Been there...done that...hated it.....but not for long!

OBTW, nice pics of your ride, especially the rims!....those Morrs are sweeeet!!!
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      10-16-2009, 12:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flip4335 View Post
Thanks, bro...

Been there...done that...hated it.....but not for long!

OBTW, nice pics of your ride, especially the rims!....those Morrs are sweeeet!!!
LOL, he's moved onto the darkside (C63 AMG)

Nice, but damn 1400 for an LSD and 500-600 for install (around 2g's ) is pretty steep!!
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      10-16-2009, 02:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdjafari View Post
LOL, he's moved onto the darkside (C63 AMG)

Nice, but damn 1400 for an LSD and 500-600 for install (around 2g's ) is pretty steep!!
Well, if you put it into perspective, a diff purchase/install is less than the cost for a typical set of 19-inch alloy wheels with PS2 runflats.

So, what is the trade off?

Unfortunately, you can't see a Quaife or Wavetrac, but you could sure feel the vast improvement in handling response it provides, more so than a shiny new set of wheels and tires, because the DTC strobe light would not be flashing in your face constantly as you thrash your vehicle on the ramps and sweepers around town. I would even hazard a guess that 1/4 mile times would increase because both rear wheels will be transmitting all that torque and power to the pavement, rather than just one wheel.

Sure, a new set of rims and tires is sexier than a diff, but one is for show, the other is for GO!!! or style vs. substance....

If this were on HGTV's Bang for Your Buck Show, I would receive 150% of my investment in terms of fully realizing the potential of the N54 platform.

The LSD install is the most important mod IMHO, because it brings the 335i performance capabilities to near M3 levels without the added cost of an M3.
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      10-16-2009, 08:20 PM   #14
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I agree the LSD is probably the best performance mod right after good tyres.
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